• Nov
  • 23
  • 2011

The Shroud of Secrecy Surrounding Black Tuesday

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa, Thoughts & Concepts | Comments Off on The Shroud of Secrecy Surrounding Black Tuesday

Living in South Africa, you’d know how the gloom of today is not merely a reflection of the weather. Yesterday was Black Tuesday; a day in South African history that will forever be marked as inconceivable yet true. The SA government voted in favour of the Secrecy Bill that will allow corruption to run rife through our political veins, without the journalistic world being able to comment on it. Legally, that is. How one could even fathom the introduction of such a law is beyond each and every rational mind and is something that the upstanding members of our communities have been fighting against for months. Petitions have brought the passing of this bill to a standstill before and perhaps old Jacob Zuma will do what is right and not put his stamp of approval on it, thereby allowing it to become law. My suspicions are against old JZ at this time, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end!

We all foresee a future where investigative journalism is about to become the enemy of the state; but at the same time we all know that every journalist worth his salt would more than likely now fight even harder to expose the truth. It’s been said that every ANC member of parliament was ordered to be present for the vote yesterday, producing a dominant force that would overthrow any decisions to do away with this bill. In addition to them being in attendance, each and every ANC member was also apparently ordered to vote in favour of the bill; whether they wanted to or not. What does this say for the ruling party? Not only do they want to enforce something so heinous that it insults the very intellectual capacity of our people, but they are also squashing any personal opinion or goodwill for the country that any of their members of parliament could hope to bring to the table.

I know I annoy the crap out of people with my eternal optimism; always looking for the ray of hope that indicates to me that everything will be fine. But I truly feel that this entire debacle will cause a host of ANC voters to wake up and shift places towards a vantage point facing the DA. How could any intelligent human being actually support something that is to the detriment of their country and their own personal wellbeing? In my opinion, the ANC have just shafted themselves royally and they can prepare for a number of lost supporters from those who actually understand the implications of this ridiculous bill. To me, they are just further proving to the world that they are a bunch of monkeys in suits with a dangerous amount of power in their hands, forcing their insane plans on a wealth of people who are too clever and too much in love with their country to not do anything about it.

Watch this space. All hope is not lost; in fact this might be the explosion that launches the ANC into oblivion where they belong. In the great and really catchy words of Journey: “Don’t stop believin’, hold onto that feeling!” Yes, it’s grey and miserable outside, but inside I’m feeling rather warm and positive.



  • Aug
  • 26
  • 2011

Quirk Ingenuity For Rugby Friday

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa | Comments Off on Quirk Ingenuity For Rugby Friday
Quirk Ingenuity For Rugby Friday

Quirk IngenuitySo here we are, on Rugby Friday and I’m wearing the clothing that as closely resembles South African rugby attire as possible. It’s green, OK? While I’m not the only person who doesn’t possess official SA colours and clothing, there were some among us that went the extra mile when preparing for today.

Lisa Leonard, our feisty Traffic Manager, went so far as to apply green eyeshadow that matches with her boyfriend’s entire wardrobe of rugby gear; this is inclusive of his size 11 shoes painted the colours of the South African flag. Karyn Lovesay, an Account Manager, has it all going on with the scarf, the t-shirt, the jersey and the little SA flag on her cheek.

But it was young Tree Pechau, one of our Senior Designers, who stole the show, in my opinion, displaying fabulous Quirk ingenuity. Does this not spell out creativity? When all else fails; improvise!

  • Aug
  • 26
  • 2011

Rugby Fridays

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa | Comments Off on Rugby Fridays
Rugby Fridays

With the Rugby World Cup 2011 approaching, South Africa is getting into the swing of things by donning their rugby jerseys every Friday. Schools, individuals and corporations are Rugby Fridaysall showing their support for the Boks in what we call Rugby Fridays… and Quirk is no different. In addition to the rugby “vibe” that’s to be spread around the office, we’re expecting a guest speaker, Owen Nkumane, to come and chat to us during our inspiration session about all things Bok and beautiful. The team has been asked to wear their favourite rugby jersey in honour of this event, but I seem to be lacking in the rugby jersey department. Not only do I not have a favourite rugby jersey, but I don’t possess a single item of South African-esque clothing, with the exception of a Soccer World Cup t-shirt that was bought for me.

It’s not that I don’t support my country and that my patriotism has run dry; in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’m in full support of all things SA and I’ll be the one screaming in the pub for the Boks to push it over the try line. It’s just the whole clothing thing… I’ve never felt the inclination to paint my face with the South African flag or buy a green and gold jersey. That doesn’t mean I’m not bubbling over with pride every time our team walks onto a field.

I love watching exotic dancers, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy 7 inch perspex stilettos and a sequined pair of hot pants if I wanted to support them. It’s the same with the Boks. I’d rather sit in my jeans and t-shirt, Kat-style, and let my support be displayed from me… just little old me in plain old clothing. So don’t judge me when my attire doesn’t reflect love for my country; green and gold just aren’t my colours, darling!

  • Jul
  • 20
  • 2011

Quirk’s Gift Of Giving On Mandela Day

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa | Comments Off on Quirk’s Gift Of Giving On Mandela Day
Quirk's Gift Of Giving On Mandela Day

Mandela Day was celebrated across South Africa and the world, as an opportunity to pay homage to a very prominent figure in South African society. Nelson Mandela is extremely highly regarded by most, doubted by some, but is certainly a man that everyone is familiar with. On his 93rd birthday this year, it was requested that everyone try and take 67 minutes out of their lives to help someone else or do something for the greater good. “67 Minutes for Tata” was widely spread and our beautiful rainbow nation came back with many inspiring acts of kindness to help improve the situations of others. We, at Quirk, made a small effort that went a long way for many.

Our Little Bit

Danielle & happy sandwich bearer

The beautiful Danielle Bates, a marketing graduate at our company, came up with the idea that everyone make 2 sandwiches and bring them to work so that we could deliver to a school where they would be most appreciated. I admit that I cursed her on Monday morning when I was about to leave the house and remembered I hadn’t made my sandwiches. After spitting expletives all over the kitchen, I whipped up some cheese and tomato sandwiches and was on my way without a second thought. The majority of the team had remembered to do the same so Dan and I packed about 80 sandwiches into her car at 11am and headed off to Witkoppen School near Lonehill.

The school sits like a small, scabby spot surrounded by opulence and luxury and is made up of 1015 pupils, all avidly doing their

Smiles For Africa

part to get an education. Obviously we couldn’t cater to all of them, so we visited 2 of the smaller classes (most classes consist of 50 kids) and handed out sandwiches to the younger children who still have a load of growing to do. The heart break set in when Dan told me that some of these kids don’t get to eat all weekend as their parents can’t afford to buy food. They get meals at school, so Fridays are spent filling up as much as they can, and Mondays – I would imagine – spent making up for lost time. I can’t fathom the idea of  having an empty belly for more than a few hours. A few days is beyond my comprehension.

You’d never know about the lives they lead from their demeanour and attitudes. They all sat quietly in their classrooms, working diligently, smiling and greeting us when told to. Their work was neat and precise… they were real model pupils and little citizens worthy of the greatest praise.

Gratitude Is Gorgeous

Each little kid got a “Quirk loves me” badge and a sandwich from us; a handover that was met with clapping, smiles and beautiful “thank yous”. They were so grateful for something that is seemingly so simple. My kids would have been wondering why the hell some chick was trying to feed them sandwiches, but these kids were absolutely thrilled. More heart break ensued as each beautiful little being returned the favour by posing for the camera, each face overflowing with smiles and positivity. Our only wish was that we had enough sandwiches for every kid in the school.

Happiness is...

This simple gift of giving was something so rewarding for us that Dan and I decided we need to do it regularly; even once a month. We’ve also set a goal for ourselves for next time and that is to make enough sandwiches for the entire school. That’s 1015 sandwiches! Quite a hefty task but so insignificant in the grander scheme of things. From there we could progress to making muffins, baking massive cakes, making up snack packs with juices and sweets – whatever! We just always have to remember (and this is a stern note to self) that no matter how much of an effort it is for us, or how inconvenient it may be… there is always someone who is worse off.

I made sure to tell my kids about what we had been up to and try to make them realise how fortunate they are to have the things they do. I’m quite positive it hit home, but they might reminding every now and then; as will I.

  • Dec
  • 04
  • 2010

Hauntings or Hogwash? (Day 19 of the 30 Day Trial)

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa | Comments Off on Hauntings or Hogwash? (Day 19 of the 30 Day Trial)
This morning we had a very interesting breakfast conversation with some people we had just met. It was my sister’s birthday brunch and she had invited some friends from work. One of the ladies she works with had done a film shoot at the old Kempton Park Hospital (formerly known as the Khayalami Hospital), and there are many stories and controversies surrounding the venue and why it was shut down.
It closed in 1997, and the funny thing is that when it closed everything was just left as is, as if the people who were working there just put down their instruments, pens or food trays, and walked out the door. She said that there were registers open on the day that the hospital closed, with the pen that had been writing in the book resting on the pages… just left; abandoned and forgotten. Machines were switched off, beds were left unmade, gloves removed and lights turned off.
What has happened in the years to follow is that young kids, students and ghost hunters have used this venue as an exciting escape into the world of the paranormal. Their attempts at finding some eerie stories to share with the world have seemingly complicated the history, and now there is a massive shroud of tom-foolery and practical jokes covering up what could be a very intricate tale of sadness and loss. There is definitely an enthralling history within those walls, but which are the stories that you can believe? A Facebook group has been created, and some 8000 strong members have some strange (and stupid) stories to tell about their experiences when they visited the hospital.
What I find fascinating is that there are no squatters staying in the abandoned halls as you would find with most empty building in Jozi. This lady that I met said that people have tried to camp out there, stay over and explore the realms of this closed off world, yet none have made it past a few hours for fear of their paranoia’s or perhaps fear of something else? There is talk of doctor’s walking down hallways, a girl in a dress, strange smells and rooms that are either very warm or freezing cold.
From my side, I am compeltely drawn in and I want to go there myself. I do believe that there could be presences there, and I wouldn’t want to disturb them… I just have some perverted interest in the history and the stories that could be hiding within those walls. I will let you know what I find out… if I find anything. But there has also been mention of connections between the old Kempton Park / Khayalami Hospital and some form of human experimentation? Hmmm… the plot thickens.
  • Nov
  • 20
  • 2010

South Africa is the Shizz (Day 5 of the 30 Day trial)

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa | Comments Off on South Africa is the Shizz (Day 5 of the 30 Day trial)
Numida meleagris, taken at Kirstenbosch, South...Image via Wikipedia
It is so incredible how completely different I feel today. Yesterday was the old “woe is me” saga; the tale of two extremes! And today I am bursting with vivaciousness and energy and brimming over with enthusiasm to get out there and experience this awesome day. It is truly amazing what sleep can do!~
The best part is waking up to a weekend in the arms of Mama Africa! With her streaming sunshine, countless birds in abundance, and the beauty of her exuberance that we find right here in our own garden.
Taking the dogs for a walk in the park this morning, we were greeted by a large family of Plover’s protecting their nest with passionate fervour… and a little bit of annoyance. The dew was fresh on the grass, the sky a magnificent blue that couldn’t get more intense. Little bees were buzzing above the purple flowers covering the veld and Guinea Fowl were making the most of the morning – just like us – a few metres away in the lush, green, riverside grass. As I walked I felt so priveleged to be a part of this incredible world; this country; this life. To walk side by side with these cheeky birds, under the South African sky… I am sure Johnny Clegg wrote a song about this? Minus the birds….
I love our life.
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  • Nov
  • 18
  • 2010

Richard the Flower Man (Day 3 of the 30 Day Trial)

Posted by Katherine Stott In South Africa | Comments Off on Richard the Flower Man (Day 3 of the 30 Day Trial)
12Image by ididj0emama via Flickr
I just have to share the loveliness of this tiny piece of my life… there is this guy, his name is Richard. He sells flowers on the corner of Old Pretoria Road and Gibson Drive in Buccleuch, every evening come rain or shine. I actually need to get a photo of him to add to this blog, but for now I will just tell this little story.
For the 7 years that I have lived in Buccleuch I have seen this guy trying to flog his goods. He only sells them from about 5pm onwards which leads me to believe that perhaps he has a day job too? I hope so… because no one ever buys his flowers from what I can tell and I don’t know that he can make much profit from the flowers that he does sell.
I used to feel a sadness seeing him standing there in the rain, covered only with a plastic bag to shield him, holding up his beautiful roses or lilies. As I sat in traffic I would watch people drive past without even noticing the person standing a few metres away from them. But still he would persist. He always wears his red fleece and a white cap, his beard is always unshaven and flecked with grey. My natural thought process was always “poor guy”; heartbreak and a whole range of emotions bordering on pity. I started buying flowers from him every couple of weeks, hoping that people would see us making the exchange and then follow suit. It hasn’t worked from what I can tell, but still he carries on. 

Every single day that I drive past whether I buy from him or not, I am greeted with thee most incredible smile, a wave and a bow. It almost brings tears to my eyes and he totally makes my day burst with sunshine. Every now and then he throws in a free bunch for me, which I refuse to take – as every bunch has the world in value for him! But he gives them over selflessly, without thinking of the personal consequence. Isn’t this the true value of being a human being? Selflessness? Being free to give without expecting to receive?

The thing that I am most in awe of is his sheer will and determination. If I were to drive up to that intersection now at 7pm, 8pm or even 9pm, I know he would still be standing there armed with his roses. If ever a person were to complain to me about how de-motivated and lazy they felt, I would take them to meet Richard the flower man. In a manner of seconds this man makes it all make sense… and he does it with a smile, a wave and a bow.

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